22 October 2012

Woodpecker Tree Carnage at Fontenelle Park

City of Omaha officials continue to decimate woodpecker habitat at Fontenelle Park. The latest "so-called improvement" was the complete removal of the towering tree grove at the northwest corner of the park.

This was one view of the scene on Monday, October 15th. There were four types of woodpeckers present during on these trees on the previous visit, a few days earlier.

On the 15th, the forestry crew from the Omaha Parks Recreation and Public Property department, were removing entire tree carcasses as well as "limbing up" other trees.

The following is a view on mid-day, Sunday, October 21st. The trees had been felled and left haphazardly strewn about during the weekend, creating a threat to park visitors.

In this picture, a tree had cut to land on the recreational trail, blocking the trail for anyone wanting to walk, run or cycle through the area during a wonderful weekend, weatherwise. This shows an obvious lack of consideration by the city workers.

This grove of trees was one place where the entire shrubby undergrowth was completely removed. It had been a nice place for sparrows, and was where the first time a towhee was seen in the park. This is a dubious improvement, as it ruined one bit of a "wild spot" where birds could find a haven. There are so few sorts of this habitat in the park, that any loss is significant.

Equipment used in the tree removal, struck the "anchor" for this recently planted tree, and tore away a swath of bark, obviously creating a detrimental condition for the long-term survival of the tree.

Needless to say, there were no woodpeckers present on the 21st among this scene. Any cavities that might have been used as shelter for the winter were destroyed when the trees were cut down.

Prospects for a diversity of birds in this park are certainly dismal, considering that city officials could not explain what will happen to the shrubby growth on the eastern hilltop when a disc-golf course is imposed next spring. Also, how will the east tree grove be considered? Will it also be cleared?

On November 1, 2012, the tree debris on the recreational trail had not been removed, and remained as it was originally pictured.